Auto Companies Celebrate April Fool’s Day

April Fool's Day is a time to celebrate all things jocular, and the auto industry is no different. The holiday famous for playfully pitting friends against each other for the sake of lighthearted fun also has a long tradition of being enjoyed by some of your favorite car companies, often to our good-natured chagrin. Take a look at some of the more notable examples from throughout the years – it will give you something to do while you're replacing your roommate's seasons of "Breaking Bad" with "Toddlers & Tiaras" DVDs.

In 2010, Infinity tickled the collective automotive world when they announced some strange new features to be included in their upcoming models, including Gastronomi, an in-car system that monitors how hungry drivers get. Also in 2010 (apparently a banner year for auto-related hijinks), MINI published a press release introducing MINIMagic, a new type of paint that would let owners change the color of their MINI at will, as simply and quickly as applying a new coat of wax.

BMW has a long and storied history with the holiday as well. The German auto manufacturer has traditionally pulled out all the stops each year as far back as 1983. The online Museum of Hoaxes chronicled the company's escapades, which include such highlights as announcing an in-dashboard tire pressure control system, and a system that claimed to take over driving for you if you fell asleep at the wheel ("lose consciousness, not control").

Admittedly, some of those pranks sound like pretty sweet features.

If you're looking to join the auto industry's April Fool's celebration by shopping for a used car, head to NJ State Auto Auction. There are hundreds of Carfax-certified cars, trucks and vans on the lot, as well as an in-house financing department to help you qualify for a loan for your choice used car – all without the unwanted surprises found April 1. 

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Trade-In

Few things can dampen the excitement of buying a new car more than getting short shrift on your old car's trade-in value. The used car market can be volatile, with trade values rising and falling more than the ratings on the newest season of “The Bachelor,” but that doesn't mean you're completely at the mercy of mysteriously fluctuating market factors. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do before putting on your game face and heading down to the dealership.

Knowledge Is Power
It's important to research your car's current trade-in value. That way, you'll have a better idea of what you can expect when it comes time to do business at the lot. AutoTrader.com recommends the Used Car Information Center at NADAguides.com, which will give you specific information on your car's current value based on factors like make and model, year and mileage information. Checking classifieds in the newspaper or online is also a good way to get a feel for what your car might be worth. Keep in mind that these prices are bound to include things like dealer mark-up, so be careful about considering these values too closely – the trade-in value you're offered is almost guaranteed to be lower than what you see others trying to sell your car for.

Keep It Clean
You wouldn't want to buy a dirty car, so why would you try and sell one? According to CarQuotes.com, a major factor in determining your car's trade-in value is the dealer's perception of the condition of your car. So not only will giving your car a thorough presale cleaning make it more attractive to buyers, you're also potentially increasing the amount of money you may be offered for it. Not a bad deal for the cost of just a little elbow grease.

Fix It Up
It should go without saying that if your car doesn't run, nobody's going to want to buy it. Trade-in time is the last chance to head into the shop for those repairs you've been putting off. Yeah, you'll be spending some money, but it's money you'll hopefully be making back by increasing your car's value. AutoTrader.com warns that you shouldn't be too careful here. If you spend more on repairs than would be added to your car's value, that's money you're not going to be seeing again. And most dealers expect used cars to have a couple minor peccadilloes anyway.

When the time comes for you to trade in your old wheels, make sure you head to NJ State Auto Auction. With hundreds of Carfax-certified cars on the lot, you're bound to find the car that's right for you.

What To Look For When Preparing For A Road Trip

With spring and summer just around the corner, road trip fever is in the air. While it may be tempting to load up your trunk, hop in your car and head cross-country at the first sign of the spring sun, taking time to do some planning beforehand is essential. After all, on any trip, your car will become your home away from home while you're on the road. When looking for a potential road-tripmobile, it's important to look with an eye toward not just reliability, but convenience as well. Below are a couple of things to keep in mind when shopping for the perfect car for your trip.

Fuel Efficiency
This may sound like a no-brainer, but long-distance driving means more stops at the gas station. Unfortunately, drivers know that the pumps can be punishing to pocketbooks. With AAA having reported that average gas prices have risen 42 out of the last 45 days, 2014 doesn't look like the year that's going to turn around. What's more, gas prices tend to increase in the warmer months as demand goes up. 

That said, choosing a fuel-efficient car will go a long way in saving you cash at the pump. Models like the 2004–2009 Toyota Prius report an impressive 47 mpg, and the 2003–2005 Honda Civic Hybrid reports 41 mpg according to MSN. While you may not be able to avoid high gas prices, a fuel-efficient car can let you get by with fewer trips to the pump.

Comfort And Safety
While on the road, you'll want to make sure that the car you're spending all day in is comfortable and safe. Crossovers and SUVs are popular choices due to their size and cargo capacity. Many, like the 2009–2011 Ford Escape are available as hybrids so you don't have to make the choice between riding in comfort and stopping too often for gas. Safety is a plus here too; the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, reported AutoTrader.com.

You'll want to keep cleanliness in mind, as your car will likely see its fair share of food and drinks on your trip. AutoTrader.com lauds the 2005–2011 Honda Element for its stain-resistant seats and urethane coated floors, meaning you can down those iced coffees fearlessly. 

Wherever you're headed this season, make your first stop NJ State Auto Auction. There are hundreds are Carfax-certified cars on the lot waiting for the chance to hit the highway on your summer adventures.

Lower Used Car Prices Perfect For Buyers

A perfect storm of events has come together early this year to make 2014 one of the best times in recent years for those looking to find used cars. Between cold weather keeping  people indoors and out of dealerships, a drop in the number of young millennial buyers and an overall drop in the cost of used cars, potential buyers are now facing some spectacular buying conditions.

After a lengthy stretch from 2007–2013 which saw used car prices rise a wallet-busting 18 percent, AutoNews reported that things are finally expected to get cheaper for buyers. So why the sudden shift in prices? One major factor is that millennials are buying fewer cars than they were last year, down a full percentage point from last year, Edmunds reported. Add to that the fact that this year's particularly nasty winter had a hand in discouraging people from venturing outside of their homes and into dealerships, and you get a definite lull in car buying.

This is great news for those in the market for a used car. Fewer people buying means more cars on the lot, which and prices are expected to drop, according to Edmunds. 

"The boom in new car leases, for example, is leading to a higher number of lease returns, which adds to the growing inventory of used cars, forcing their prices down," said Philip Reed, a senior consumer advice editor for Edmunds.com.

In addition to lower prices, Reed predicted buyers can also expect a greater selection of used cars available. If you're looking to buy, head to NJ State Auto Auction. There are hundreds of used cars on the lot, and an in-house finance department ready to help put you into a high-quality used car.  

Rearview Cameras Are Effective For Safety, Study Shows

The safety features included on a vehicle is one of the most important factors people consider when shopping around for a used car. While most drivers will be evaluating all different aspects of a vehicle, including everything from the fuel economy to placement of cup holders, the elements made with safety in mind are often among the most appealing. 

Recently, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety conducted a study to determine how effective some of these attributes are. The institute found that rear cameras, which provide drivers with a view of what's behind them, are a safer option than parking sensors. According to the research, the cameras were helpful for preventing backover crashes and were more useful than just sensors or a combination of cameras and sensors. 

Accidents involving cars in reverse can be especially damaging, as they often include small children who are not visible through windows. Dealing with the blind spots can be challenging, but with the help of tools like rear cameras, the safety of drivers, passengers and bystanders is prioritized. 

"Right now cameras appear to be the most promising technology for addressing this particularly tragic type of crash, which frequently claims the lives of young children in the driveways of their own homes," said David Zuby, the chief research officer for the IIHS. 

Rearview cameras are just one of the many features you may want to consider on your next vehicle. Used cars for sale may have some of these amenities, in addition to a wide array of similar tools that are typically employed for superior safety. At New Jersey State Auto Auction, you can browse through a selection of hundreds of Carfax-certified cars, trucks and vans, many of which will have the top-notch qualities that you're looking for. 

Owning A Car Can Be More Affordable Than You Thought

Do you dream of owning a car but fear that it's just not possible? Do you worry you'll either spend a fortune or end up with a lemon, clunker or jalopy? Dipping your toe into the tumultuous waters of car shopping can be overwhelming. Fortunately, with the right knowledge and a little foresight, you'll find that taking the plunge into the world of car ownership is easier than you thought.

The important thing to keep in mind when trying to find used cars is that not all cars are created equal. Certain makes and models are known for being both cost-effective and reliable. Honda is a name you'll  hear frequently in reliability discussions, as USA Today reported the 2011 Fit, CR-V and Element models all making the cut as some of the most reliable three-year-old cars according to J.D. Power. Toyota's industry-famous reliability also makes for a good choice; its 2004–2007 model Prius was reported by Consumer Reports to be one of the best small cars under $10,000. Its fuel efficiency (44 mpg) also makes it a compelling money-saving choice. 

Once you've chosen the right car, basic preventative maintenance can go a long way in extending the life of your car. Edmunds outlined how basic procedures from oil changes to tire rotation can keep your car on the road for longer.  

You'll also find yourself saving money when it comes to insurance. Insure.com's list of cheapest cars to insure includes many of the same models across multiple years. Safety and reliability go a long way in saving you cash in the insurance market, and knowing which vehicles are better for your wallet can make a big difference in the bottom line.

Choosing a reliable used car from New Jersey State Auto Auction can make your dreams of car ownership possible. The lot has hundreds of Carfax-certified vehicles and an in-house financing department to help make sure you can afford the car, truck or van that's right for you.

Replace Car Air Filters To Improve Allergies

Allergy season is quickly approaching, and that leaves individuals in many parts of the country susceptible to sneezing, itchy eyes and other symptoms. It is tough for many of these people to find relief, especially when they have to go outside and continue with their daily lives. Even cars can be a source of irritation if drivers aren't meticulous in the upkeep of their vehicles. 

The Car Care Council recently noted that those drivers who suffer from allergies may be putting themselves at risk when they get into their cars. A vehicle's air filter is designed to clean the incoming air before it gets to the cabin, which keeps dirt, debris and allergens from getting inside. However, when the filter clogged or dirty, it can lead to problems for passengers with allergies. 

"A dirty or clogged cabin air filter can cause contaminants to become so concentrated in the cabin that passengers actually breathe in more fumes and particles when riding in the car than when walking down the street," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "With allergy season quickly approaching, replacing the cabin air filter is a simple way for you and your passengers to breathe easier while driving."

The only surefire solution is to clean and replace the air filter regularly. While you should refer to the owner's manual to see the exact lifespan of the gear, a general rule of thumb is to replace them between 12,000 and 15,000 miles, the Car Care Council suggested. 

There may be times when a professional is needed to inspect and repair your car, including when you are replacing the air filter. If this situation arises, be sure to schedule an appointment at the Total Car Care Center at New Jersey State Auto Auction. This facility can address any issues you may have regarding your vehicle. 

3 Ways To Get Your Tires Ready For Spring

The transition from winter to spring may be a welcome one for drivers, but it has implications for your tires as well. Changes in weather, road conditions, and precipitation can all drastically affect your tires' performance. Whether you drive an Acura or a Jeep, below are some helpful tips to help keep your tires in working condition so they can keep you on the road.

Use Proper Seasonal Tires
It may be easy to overlook changing out your winter tires, but it's imperative that you do so once the weather starts warming up. Winter tires are great for navigating icy and snowy conditions during the colder months, but keeping them on your car when things get warmer and wetter will actually put you at risk of poorer handling on rainy roads. What's more, the softer rubber and deeper tread of winter tires makes them more prone to wear, so keeping them year-round is doing nothing but making them less effective for next winter, when you'll need them most. Be sure to replace your winter tires with all-season ones as soon as you're sure spring has finally sprung.

Watch Out For Potholes
Though winter's departure means that you won't have to deal with icy conditions anymore, the melting snow and warming temperatures leave drivers with a new road hazard to worry about: potholes. A helpful infographic from USA Today details how potholes are formed in the wake of winter weather, and the effects these can have on your tires can be severe. From throwing off your alignment to puncturing your tires outright, potholes create a host of problems for motorists, both immediately and down the line.

"Failure to address faulty alignment could cause uneven and premature tire wear," said Dan Zielinski, senior vice president, public affairs for the Rubber Manufacturer's Association (RMA). While avoiding potholes completely may be impossible, make sure to follow up and repair any potential damage if and when you find yourself at the bottom of one.

Engage In Preventative Tire Care
It's important to keep your tires in good health year-round, and the change in season is a perfect opportunity to get caught up on your preventative tire maintenance. Tires require both proper tire pressure and a decent tread to do their job, so make sure you familiarize yourself with the RMA's tips for tire safety to ensure you keep your tires operating at peak efficiency, reducing the risk of unfortunate tire mishaps.

Your tires may seem like an afterthought, but it's important to give them the same care you'd give to the rest of your car. For insight into proper tire maintenance, consider scheduling an appointment at NJ State Auto Auction's Total Car Care Center for all your tire and car care needs.

Study Shows Multitasking Is Common When Driving

Most drivers have their own distinctive habits that they fall back on when driving. Whether you grab your sunglasses, hook up an MP3 player or start adjusting your seat, these practices may seem normal, but can actually be dangerous. 

According to a new survey form DMEautomotive, the No. 1 activity done by drivers is singing out loud. That may not be surprising to motorists who love rocking out when behind the wheel, but some other, more dangerous practices are also relatively common. Drivers frequently send out texts, talk on the phone and eat snacks, the survey found. In fact, about 9 in 10 young drivers admit to taking part in one of these behaviors. 

These habits may cause drivers to become distracted, leading to an increased possibility of accidents and collisions. March is National Collision Month, and spending some of these days re-evaluating your own actions may allow you to increase your personal safety. 

"During National Collision Month, we hope this data will help raise awareness about the ongoing problem of distracted driving, which has been made more complex given the proliferation of phones, tablets and various 'pods' people now regularly use – and especially among young people, who are the worst offenders," said Dr. Mary Sheridan, manager of research and analytics at DMEautomotive. 

Drivers will do anything in their power to avoid a collision, but one of the most effective ways of staying safe in a vehicle is investing in the right preventative maintenance. Even used cars with the top safety features need to be cared for to ensure everything is operating effectively, and scheduling regular maintenance appointments at the Total Car Care Center at NJ State Auto is the first step toward checking this off your to-do list. 

Do I Need To Know My Credit Score?

Say you're growing tired of your old car and want to invest in a better-quality used model. What do you do? While you may be tempted to jump right into the buying process, you need to start by determining just how much you can afford to spend on a used car. This all starts with knowing your credit score, as the number plays a major role in your budget. 

Why know your credit score 
So should you know your credit score? The answer is a resounding "duh." Credit scores play an important role in all aspects of your finances, especially if you're considering investing in a used car. It affects car loans, monthly payments and much more, and you need to know the number before jumping into a big purchase. 

How to find out 
Once you've made the easy decision to know your credit score, you've got to step up to the plate to figure it out. Plenty of websites and resources are available to provide free credit reports, and these can give you insight into

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your spending habits and personal finances. 

In the near future, however, getting your credit score could be as easy as contacting your bank. Banks provide the most accurate reports, and as such they can give you the information you need to know, including ways to improve your score and other important data. 

"Credit reports and scores can determine the terms of people's mortgages, whether they qualify for auto loans or if they are eligible for different credit cards," Richard Cordray, the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told NBC News. "Making consumers' credit scores freely available on their monthly statement or online makes it easier for them to spot problems with their credit report."

When you see it – and wish you didn't 
Say you get a glimpse of your credit score and – yikes – it's not a pretty sight. First of all, don't panic: It is not the end of the world. You can spend some time figuring out what to do to improve your finances, but that doesn't mean you have to put off buying a used car. There are facilities in the New York/New Jersey area that can provide you with auto loans and financing options. 

Even if your credit score is less than stellar, you can still find ways to afford a used car. At New Jersey State Auto Auction, the financing department is on hand to help approve you for an auto loan, even if your credit score leaves something to be desired. Check out what the facility has to offer and you may drive away with a high-quality used car.